When Connecticut residents are injured in a car accident, their primary concern is — rightly so — on the recovery of their physical health. However, a close second to this concern should be how to hold the party that caused the accident — the negligent party — accountable for the injuries and damage caused in the car accident. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may progress all the way to a trial.
In a civil trial, the burden is on the injured party — the plaintiff — to prove the case. However, the case does not need to be proven to the extent of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which many of our readers will be familiar with from their knowledge of criminal trials. Instead, civil cases, such as personal injury lawsuits, use a lower threshold known as “a preponderance of the evidence.” In essence, this means that the plaintiff will need to prove that the negligent party — the defendant — more likely than not caused the car accident and the plaintiff’s resultant injuries.
With the burden on the plaintiff to prove the case, the plaintiff goes first. The plaintiff will present evidence to a jury — or just a judge if it is a bench trial — in an effort to persuade the fact-finder that the burden has been met. The presentation of evidence in a car accident lawsuit will usually include: eyewitness accounts of the accident; photos; medical records; and, perhaps, a crash reconstruction.
After the plaintiff presents his case, the defendant is allowed to present his case. In many cases, this will be the defendant’s opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s case, attempting to show why the car accident actually wasn’t due to any negligent or reckless actions on the defendant’s behalf. From there, the case and the evidence are left in the hands of the jury or judge to decide which side will prevail.